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Fraser Island

Fraser Island, Australia

I got up at the ungodly hour of 6.15 am to get ready for my pick-up for my Fraser Island Explorer tour. A fair few people had told me that it was better to do an overnight trip to the largest sand island in the world, but my bank balance told me otherwise and I was happy enough to get to see the place at all.

Info time: Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world, and is home to the only rainforest growing on sand in the world, too. It was logged extensively up to 1991 when it was made a world heritage sight, and is home to what are thought to be purest dingos (wild dogs) in australia. I was hopeful on seeing one, but on a daytour it seemed unlikely.

All the foot passengers, mostly from different tour groups, piled on the pedestrian and 4x4 ferry for the 30min ride across the water to Fraser Island (which lies off the QLD cost, accessed from Hervey Bay and Rainbow Beach ferry terminals) at about 8am. The first ace wildlife spot of the day was a large sea turtle in the water next to the boat. At the island we got onto our allocated 4x4 buses (all the tracks on the island are sand only so it's a 4X4 only zone). First we drove along one of the island's many bumpy sandtracks to Central Station, the site of a former logging camp, passing dry scrub merging into lush rainforest on the way.
At Central Station we took a rainforest walk along the banks of Wanggoolba Creek, which was astoundingly clear - so much so that you barely see the water moving. Apparently Fraser teams with snakes, but we saw none on the walk. From Central Station we drove on a little way south to 75 mile beach, a designated highway with an 80kmp/h speed limit. 4X4's driven by tour guides and backpackers speed along it regular intervals. It's a bit weird to see so much traffic on a beach, and perhaps it's a bit odd to do so, but any thoughts on the morals etc. of this were fortunately/unfortunately dispelled, as the minute we drove onto the beach we spotted a dingo! The naturally skinny, slightly alsatian-looking dogs (see photo) have been encourage to rely aggressively on tourists for food who insisted on feeding them tidbits, and they have attacked people in the past; an 8 yr old girl was even killed by one some years ago. Thus there is a complete ban on any feeding or even interaction with dingoes on fraser island - with a fine, prison sentence, and deportation facing any overseas visitor who does so. So, we were kept on the bus until our driver had driven far enough away from the dingo to let us out in safety.
The dingo would have been enough of a highlight for me to end the tour then, but a breakdown on the beach (allowing some impromtu sunbathing), a visit to other the coloured pinnnacles of sand, and to the Maheno shipwreck were still on the agenda. Then we drove to Eli Creek, which, while being a beautiful, tropical-plant-fringed creek flowing out of rainforest onto the beach and into the sea, was a bit of a circus with 4x4 buses, 4x4's, and even motorcross bikes parked around it or driving through the beach-mouth of it. This was a theme of Fraser Island, at least the bits you see on a daytour - it's almost like it's a 4x4 adventure playground, rather than a heritage site, which is sad, and a fact that is bitterly lamented by many local QLD'rs.

On the way back down the beach to visit the picturesque turquoise-blue expanse of the inland, rainforest-fringed Lake Mckenzie, our wildlife extravaganza was completed when we saw three humpback whales elaping and cavorting off-shore. Amazing; we were so lucky to be driving past at the right time to see them. It had felt like an incredibly touristy day, and the sight of Eli Creek, in particular, being so crowded with alien-looking motor-vehicles encroaching on the lushness of nature was jarring, but it was the unplanned sites, the dingo and the whales, which were most spectacular, made more so when observedagainst the natural beauty of Fraser.

permalink written by  LizIsHere on August 22, 2010 from Fraser Island, Australia
from the travel blog: New Zealand & Australia 2010
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beautiful pictures.thanks! www.ediscountshoes.com

permalink written by  angel on September 7, 2010

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